My entry for this weeks ABC Wednesday is a picture of my granddaughter Autumn looking into a large kettle at Houmas House.
Houmas House is a restored plantation home on the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The first owners of the plantation were the indigenous Houmas Indians, who were given a land grant to occupy the fertile plain between the Mississippi and Lake Maurepas to the north.
The Houmas sold the land to Maurice Conway and Alexander Latil in the mid 1700's. The original French Provincial house that Latil erected on the property in is situated directly behind the Mansion, adjoined by a carriageway to the grand home described during its antebellum heyday as "The Sugar Palace." The original home was later used as living quarters for the staff that served the great house.
By the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the plantation was established and producing sugar.
In 1810, Revolutionary War hero Gen. Wade Hampton of Virginia purchased the property and shortly thereafter began construction on the Mansion. However, it was not until 1825 when Hampton's daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Col. John Preston, took over the property that the grand house truly began to take shape.
Construction on the Mansion was completed in 1828. At the same time, Houmas House began to build its sugar production and continued to increase its land holdings, which ultimately grew to 300,000 acres.
Here are some more pictures of Autumn taken at Houmas House.
Dan Roberts has been a solo artist in Texas for five years, Dan's previous 18 years were spent in Nashville Tennessee honing his craft as a songwriter. Dan has penned numerous billboard chart songs including serveral for mega superstar Garth Brooks. When Dan teamed up with Brooks and Bryan Kennedy to write the #1 smash "The Beaches of Cheyenne", Roberts was off and running. Garth signed Roberts and Kennedy to a two-year deal to open his world tour in 1996-97. The dou opened more Garth Brooks shows than any other opening act in Garth Brooks' career.
DAN PAYING RESPECT TO JOHN WAYNE
When Dan stepped off Brooks' tour bus, he picked up his pen and wrote an album for himself titled "There's a Little Cowboy in All of Us." He followed up with his second CD "Cowhand.com"- which charted on both Gavin and Billboard.
VIDEO OF "COWHAND.COM"
With twenty years as a songwriter and the Brooks tour under his belt, Roberts and his family moved to Texas in 2000. Dan's career picked up more steam as he was awarded Male Vocalist of the Year 2001 and Entertainer of the Year 2002 for the Academy of Western Artists.
VIDEO OF "FADED LOVE"
His third CD "Viva La Cowboy" recieved three Grammy Recognitions and featured two chart singles on the Texas Music Chart "I'm the One to Call" and "Swingin' Till We Can't See Strait". "I Love Texas" Dan often says with a smile, "I got here as quick as I could". It seems clear that this cowboy and his music are right at home under the Big Lone Star. However it's not all about what Dan gets out of Texas. This soft spoken man loves his wife and kids and has a big heart for children.
VIDEO OF "WOLVES"
His music career and his life took on a whole new meaning after his daughter, Austin, fought and won a two-year battle with brain cancer. Dan and his wife Carol established the REFUSE TO LOSE FUND. The goal is to raise 4.5 million dollars to purchase the same technology that saved his daughters life at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angles, California. The Roberts are partnering with Cook Children's Medical Center to bring that technology to Ft. Worth, Texas.
VIDEO OF "TRUE BLUE HEELER"
Dan is a top notch entertainer and definitely pleased the crowd with his cowboy music that obviously came from experience and a love for the cowboy lifestyle.
RICHIE OWENS OPENING FOR DAN ROBERTS
Richie Owens, my good friend of over 10 years opened the show. I know that I might be just a bit prejudiced, but he had an awesome set. Richie is a singer songwriter and played all original material.
VIDEO OF "MAN ON A MISSION
VIDEO OF "TWO HANDS"
A number of years ago Richie put out an acoustic Christian CD titled Like A Child One of my favorite songs on the album is All Things Work Together. Here is the video of him playing All Things Work Together at the concert.
This week I have been getting ready to paint a Bandit Wood Chipper for my cousin LeRoy. Wood chippers have powerful feed systems with large chipper openings that allow you to break down limbs and branches. One of the things that had to be done was the removal of all of the decals and stickers before painting. So that we would know where to put the new decals when we finished painting, I took pictures of all the decals and locations for reference.
Wood chippers are very dangerous machines. I have never used one, but after reading all of the warning decals I have new found respect for the dangers involved.
This one reads DANGER! STOP TO THINK!! Reaching or kicking into the infeed spout can cause serious injury or death! DO NOT reach with your hand or kick with your foot inside the feed spout. The feedrolls are very powerful. Once your hand or foot is grabbed by the feedrolls, you can be pulled into the chipper. Do not think you will be able to pull yourself out of the feedrolls. They will not let go!
This one reads DANGER! SEVERE INJURY OR DEATH CAN OCCUR! UNLESS THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOLLOWED.
Do you think Bandit Industries Inc. is serious about their warning? Are they plain enough for you to understand? The wood chipper I am working on is literally covered with these warnings. I took 30 pictures of warning labels. The manufacturer wants to make sure that you understand the dangers of working with this machine.
This one is very serious. BRUSH CHIPPERS ARE VERY DANGEROUS MACHINES TO OPERATE! READ AND BELIEVE THIS WARNING DECAL!
One line on this warning decal reads "There have been MANY ACCIDENTS involving the feed rolls, resulting in the amputation of hands, arms, feet, legs and DEATH. DO NOT let this happen to you!
All of these warnings made me think of the Bible, and all of the directions and warnings that God has placed in it.
In Jeremiah 6:10 the Bible says, "Who will listen to me? The people of Israel have closed ears, so they cannot hear my warnings. They don't like the word of the LORD; they don't want to listen to it!"
Why is it that we don't want to listen to the word of the Lord? When I read the warnings on a piece of machinery I take them seriously, but if I read it in the Bible I don't want to listen.
In Romans 6:23 there is a clear warning. As clear as the warning decals on a wood chipper. It says "The wages of sin is death". That is clear. Thankfully the verse doesn't end there. It also says "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".
The warnings on the wood chipper were not placed there because Bandit Industries Inc. doesn't want you to have any fun. They were not placed there just to restrict the user. They were placed there for the benefit of the user.
God's commandments are like the warnings on the wood chipper. They are not to restrict us, they are for our benefit.
Many times we look at God's law as a jail. We feel that it creates uncomfortable restrictions. We need to ask God to give us a love for his commandments, to instill in us a desire for the peace and safety of His law.
1 John 5:3 tells us "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome".
What is the best gift you have ever received? What made it so special? Was it the value of the gift? Was it the person who gave it to you? Was it because it was so unexpected?
As I think about this question I find it hard to narrow down one particular gift as the best. There is one gift that I received that was very special for a number of reasons. One of the reasons this particular gift was special is that I still don’t know who gave me the gift. Let me tell you the story.
In February 2004, 17 members of my church raised 20,000 dollars and went to San Pedro, Belize in Central America to build a church. While we were there we made lots of friends. We were only in San Pedro for a short time, but by the time we left the walls of the church were finished. During the following months, the church members in San Pedro finished the church building. Plans were made for a church dedication service to be held in February 2005. I was invited to come to the dedication service. I really wanted to go. This church building project had been very important to me, and I had made many friends in San Pedro that I wanted to see again. There was just one problem. I couldn’t afford the trip.
THE NEW HORIZON SDA CHAPEL IN SAN PEDRO BELIZE
One day I received a letter in the mail from Fare Finders Travel. Why were they sending me a letter? When I opened the letter I was surprised by what it said. Please come in to Fare Finders to make arrangements for a round trip ticket to Belize. Someone has paid for the ticket, but they want to remain anonymous. I couldn’t believe it. My wife immediately tried to figure out who the anonymous donor was. She still hasn’t cracked the case. It is still an unsolved mystery. The mysterious ticket has to be one of the best gifts I have ever received.
We made plans to go back to San Pedro. As we packed and attended to all the details of the trip, the mystery giver was in our thoughts. Who was this person who had given such a meaningful and valuable gift? How could we thank the giver?
Our trip to Belize was wonderful. It was very special to me to see the completed church building. The dedication service was beautiful and moving with people from several different countries participating. We got reacquainted with friends that we had made the year before, and made many knew friends the 10 days that we were there. Many times friends would stop by our room with gifts such as fresh coconut water, papaya, or some small trinket. On the last day we were in San Pedro, there was a steady stream of visitors at our room. They wanted to tell us goodbye. Most of them brought a gift.
GINA AND I WITH SOME OF OUR FRIENDS IN SAN PEDRO
We received one gift that was very special to me. My wife made a special friendship with a little 2 year old boy who spoke only Spanish. Whenever he would see her his face would light up. He didn’t understand English, but he understood the language of love. The day we were leaving he and his 4 year old sister came to our door with a gift. They gave us a well worn 1941 Walking Liberty half dollar. I have no idea how this little family had come into possession of this coin, or why they gave it to me. Even though the monetary value of the coin is only a little more than 4 dollars it is one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.
GINA'S SPECIAL FRIEND, ANGEL
I learned an important spiritual lesson on my trip to Belize. I learned it from the people that I met. They had such a desire to do something for us. Even though they had only meager possessions, they had such a desire to please. They wanted to see us before we left. They had to bring us a gift. It was very important to them. To me that showed how I should relate to God. God, I don’t have anything but I want to give you something. God let me know what I can do to please you. God I want to be with you.
In Romans 6:23 the Bible tells us “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”. God has given you the best gift ever, what will you give God?
Some weeks ABC Wednesday can be a challenge. As I was looking through my pictures searching for some inspiration starting with the letter J, I ran across this photo of J's. I like to do what I call light painting, where I point the camera at a light source (in this case it was Christmas lights) and move the camera as the picture is taken.
Weddings are beautiful! It is wonderful to see two people that love each other make that public commitment of their love. It was a privilege to be asked by Stephen and Stephanie to officiate at their wedding.
The wedding was yesterday, and the day was lovely. The morning was cool and foggy, but as the sun burnt off the fog the day became absolutely perfect. I was a bit nervous as the ceremony started, because I didn't want to do anything to detract from the beauty of the day. Stephanie walked down the aisle with a big smile on her face, and I don't think it left for the whole ceremony.
After a lovely ceremony and a very nice reception, Stephen and Stephanie left the church with bubbles filling the air.
My Daddy had his 1940 Buick there to whisk them away.
I know that it was Stephen and Stephanie's day, but one of the things that made it so special was Cynda and her family coming for the wedding and getting to be with them all weekend. They had to leave right after the wedding and drive back home to Baton Rouge.
Here I am with Rebekah.
Here is Gina with Autumn and Rebekah
Since I am usually behind the camera, Gina and I have very few pictures of us together. We asked Andy, the wedding photographer, If he would take a picture of us together. Thanks Andy!
I was reading from the Max Lucado book, "The Applause Of Heaven", and the following passage really captured my attention.
Grudge is one of those words that defines itself. Its very sound betrays its meaning.
Say it slowly: “Grr-uuuud-ge.”
It starts with a growl. “Grr …” Like a bear with bad breath coming out of hibernation or a mangy mongrel defending his bone in an alley. “Grrr …”
Remove a GR from the word grudge and replace it with SL and you have the junk that grudge bearers trudge through. Sludge. Black, thick, ankle-deep resentment that steals the bounce from the step. No joyful skips through the meadows. No healthy hikes up the mountain. Just day after day of walking into the storm, shoulders bent against the wind, and feet dragging through all the muck life has delivered.
Is this the way you are coping with your hurts? Are you allowing your hurts to turn into hates? If so, ask yourself: Is it working? Has your hatred done you any good? Has your resentment brought you any relief, any peace? Has it granted you any joy?
Let’s say you get even. Let’s say you get him back. Let’s say she gets what she deserves. Let’s say your fantasy of fury runs its ferocious course and you return all your pain with interest. Imagine yourself standing over the corpse of the one you have hated. Will you now be free?
Max's words made me think of the time that I was going Geocaching in Tyler, Texas. If you are not familiar with Geocaching, It is a modern day treasure hunt powered by a GPS. I had found the geocache that I was searching for, and was finding my way back to my car when I got a bit lost. I had forgotten to put the coordinates of my cars location in the GPS, so I was just trying to remember my way back through the woods. I came into a brushy clearing and was trying to decide which way to go. There was an area that looked a bit wet and muddy, so I stepped carefully across it to avoid getting my shoes dirty. Imagine my surprise when the "solid" ground gave way, and I sank up to my armpits in stinky mucky quicksand. At first I was just angry that I was filthy, but then I started trying to get out and realized that I was in a serious predicament. Fortunately I was able to reach a small shrub than was strong enough for me to pull myself out.
I was now on the opposite side of the quicksand from where I needed to be and was trying to decide how to proceed. I layed out spread eagle and "swam" to the other side. It wasn't until i thought back on the experience as I was driving back to the condo that it dawned on me how much trouble I had actually been in. I was by myself, and my wife had no idea where I was. I never saw another person while I was out in the woods. As I was driving back I gave a special prayer of thanks to God for keeping me safe.
This is what I looked like after I got out.
Holding a grudge is a lot like being in quicksand. When we hold a grudge, we just can't seem to get out of it's grasp. The more we think about it and struggle with it the more we sink, and the deeper we go. I really think that the only way we can get ourselves of the quicksand of holding a grudge is through the power of God. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26,27 "don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
Don't give the Devil a mighty foothold by holding a grudge.
I can hardly wait to see my granddaughters. Well, Cynda and Dave too. They are going to get here sometime late into the night. Anticipation is a great thing. Sometimes the anticipation for something is more exciting than the actual event. How many times have you waited for something, anticipated it, and yet the actual event was anti-climactic.
I am sure that seeing my grandkids will not be anti-climactic. How can I be so sure? Because it never has been before. I always have a wonderful time with them.
Another event I am waiting for is the return of Jesus. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:20,21 "Our homeland is in heaven, and we are eagerly waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. By his power to rule all things, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body".
I know that the return of Jesus will not be anti-climactic. I eagerly anticipate his return. Just think of all the troubles and sorrows that will no longer be a part of your life if you are ready for his return. In Revelation 21:3,4 the Bible tells us that "God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever".
Sometimes you see something that just makes you ask "what is that about". We were going into a Chili's in Texarkana when i spotted this car in the parking lot. I just happened to have my camera in my pocket so I snapped a couple of pictures
Skittles are rather like little bits of Starburst covered in a candy shell. They aren't my favorite. If I am going to eat candy, I want it to be chocolate. Skittles were first introduced in 1974 in England and parts of Europe. They spread to the US as an import for a while and then in 1981 Mars began making them in the States.
Last Night, Gina and I registered for the Relay For Life Leadership Summit to be held at Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee the 7th and 8th of November. We are looking forward to attending.
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity. It offers everyone in a community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event.
Teams of people from all walks of life have fun while raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.
The event in Mena was great. It was held in beautiful Janssen Park and was very successful. There was great entertainment and it was very well attended.
The purpose of Relay For Life is to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight. Remember loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing. Fight Back. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.
I got a very chilly reception this morning. It wasn't that the cat and the dog weren't happy to see me and get fed. It's just that when I put them outside, I was met by a cold blast of air. It was 48 degrees and windy and my blood is thin from the warm Arkansas summer. I wore a long sleeved shirt to work for the first time in a long time.
I have mixed emotions about fall. I love the cooler weather and the beautiful fall colors that we have here, but I don't like winter and cold weather. Fall means that Winter is right around the corner.
The sun is out and it is warming up. Looks like it's going to be a great day!
Click on the photo above to purchase my latest book, In the Fog, for $5.99. The Kindle version is only $2.99.
I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled The Little Things - Devotionals from a small town, using articles from the column. I published the second book in the Devotionals from a small town series, titled In the Fog, in December 2017.